Okra is considered a comfort food by all who love it. Although okra or Abelmoschus esculentus (sometimes referred to as “lady fingers”,”bamia” or “bhindi”) is often served fried and battered, it is quite the healthy food and boasts many health benefits when prepared without a beer-battering and deep-frying.
The Health Benefits of Okra
Okra packs a potassium punch, has many vitamins and minerals and is nearly calorie-free.
Now, let’s take an in-depth look at the okra-diabetes connection, and learn more about how preparing okra in a specific way can help fight existing diabetes and stave off diabetes in those who have been diagnosed as pre-diabetic.
Please note that all solid research to date has been conducted on animals, and although rat and rabbit studies may translate well to human applications, the human evidence for okra as an anti-diabetic treatment are limited to anecdotes at this time.
Okra as a Natural Cure for Diabetes – the Research
Several research studies have shown that okra can help treat diabetes.
One animal study published in the Journal of Pharmacy & BioAllied Sciences and performed by researchers from India used rats in which diabetes had been induced. This study found that the seeds and peel of okra have anti-diabetic properties which led the rats to stabilized blood glucose levels—the prime concern in all diabetic animals, including humans.
In this study the okra pods were soaked in water and one group of rats was given the solution, while the control group received a solution of Na-carboxymethylcellulose (CMC – cellulose gum; a cellulose derivative often used as a thickener). The results showed that okra helped to reduce the absorption of glucose and lowered blood sugar levels in rats.
Similarly, a study performed by a team of researchers from the Vishwabharthi College of Pharmaceutical Sciences and published in the International Journal of Research in Pharmacy and Chemistry found that okra extract had anti-diabetic effects on rabbits. Over a ten-day time span, the okra level gradually reduced blood glucose levels among the experimental group of rabbits, comparable to the reduction caused by the popular diabetes drug, Metformin.
How to Make Okra Water to Treat Diabetes
Extracting the goodness of okra to treat diabetes is almost too simplistic to be believed—but it works! Some people claim that okra water, consumed daily, can help stave off the disease of diabetes and restore health in people struggling to keep their blood sugar levels normal. Here’s how to prepare it:
- Thoroughly wash 4 medium size okra pods
- Clip off both ends of the pods
- Poke the pods with a fork on opposite sides or split them in half
- Place the pods into a glass and cover them with clean, room-temperature water
- Allow okra to sit in water overnight
- Give the pods a good squeeze before removing from the water (to release any leftover sap)
- Discard the pods and gulp down the water!
Do this once per day to reduce the effects of existing diabetes or to keep diabetes at bay as a pre-diabetic person. It takes almost no effort on your part and could potentially save you money in reducing the need for expensive treatments.
When Fresh Okra Isn’t Available
Okra is an annual plant, meaning its seasonal availability (not to mention geographical availability across the globe) may be limited. Although part of the empirical research supporting okra as an anti-diabetic was conducted using parts of the fresh okra plant, canned okra and freeze-dried okra can also be used to create okra water for diabetes treatment.
You can also combine the okra treatment with other diabetes management methods, such as a low-carbohydrate diet, intermittent fasting, and ingesting foods high in healthy fats such as nuts, olives, and avocados, all of which have their own health benefits.
Okra – Safety Concerns
If you have been advised to attempt to control your diabetes using dietary restrictions, okra water consumption may be right for you.
However, if you are taking Metformin to control your diabetes, please be aware that okra water usage may interfere with Metformin’s ability to affect your blood sugar, and glucose levels may actually rise instead of falling when okra water is being used as a treatment while taking Metformin. Make sure to consult with your doctor before taking okra as a natural diabetes treatment.
Also, don’t feel that okra’s amazing effects on blood sugar levels is a free pass to consume sugary, carbohydrate-ridden foods! Managing diabetes and using healthy and natural alternative treatments should always be part of a healthier lifestyle, and should never be used as a free pass to eat junk food and “get away with it.”
Use okra water responsibly as a part of a healthy diet, and avoid the temptation to reach out to sugars when you find that okra water helps control your blood sugar levels.